Character Creation

Your character should be someone who interests you, someone who has a talent, and some flaws. What has driven them to eke out a life at the edges of society; a life that is more dangerous than rewarding?

Making a character in Numenera is all about this sentence:

I am an *adjective* *noun* who *verb*s.

– or –

I am a descriptor type who focus.

For example:

  1. “I am a rugged Glaive who controls beasts.”
  2. “I am a brilliant Nano who wields the White Cloud
The *adjective* is your descriptor.

It might be used when they make songs about you.
e.g. “Rugged Ron …”

The *noun*, which in other games might be a “character class”, you have three Numenera choices:

  1. Glaive
  2. Nano
  3. Jack

The *verb* is your focus.

Maybe what your character does for a living, or what they’re known for.
e.g. “…who manipulates gravity”, “…who charms everyone she meets.”

Embrace Your Noun


Glaives are the warriors of the Ninth World.

They use weapons and armor to deal with the challenges of the world.

Hunters, guardians, soldiers are all Glaives. Also: bandits, scouts, warlords and athletes.

Glaive is the slang term everywhere near the Steadfast for martialists.

Glaives can be strong or fast. [in Numenera, Might or Speed]

They can use handheld weapons, ranged weapons, or sometimes, no weapons at all.

What makes your warrior unique?

Does he have a signature move, weapon, invisible Cypher armor? A companion animal that is a replacement for the eyes he traded for a burning sword from a heretic Priest?


Magician, Nano-Sorceror, Witch. These are other names for Nanos.
Whatever their titles, they have mastered – purposefully or accidentally – some aspect of the previous Worlds. Some of the Iron Wind responds to their call, the tiny machines of the previous worlds serve them, or see fit to … use them for a time. These esoteries (or spells, oh hudu) are powerful but potentially dangerous.

They are often smart [in Numenara, Intellect] They have a relationship with the Cyphers and other secrets of the Ninth World.


The intrepid explorers of the world, jacks have many skills and talents. “I jacked out of there in a hurry” means to get out of a tight scrape through ingenuity and luck.

Jacks don’t specialize. They’ll use anything. They’re hunters, con artists, bards, scouts, and tradesmen.

Jacks would usually balance or capriciously specialize in [Might, Speed or Intellect].

If you are playing a Jack, you’ll want to put together a list of skills and a trade your Jack plies and is known for.

Jacks can be the face-men of groups, the quiet bomb-expert, the creative composer genius who solves crimes using a spyglass – whatever you can dream up!

Love your Adjective

Your descriptor, Rugged, Charming, etc., is going to get you some things and give you some challenges to overcome.

Charming” for example, will give you social interaction skills and bonuses, but maybe make you tend toward observing everything at once rather than paying attention to detail.

Graceful” gives you some added edge with movement and flexibility, but you’re not gonna be bending steel bars to free everyone from the jail of the terrible Taftians.

Here’s a sample list of Adjectives:

  • Charming
  • Clever
  • Graceful
  • Learned
  • Mystic
  • Rugged
  • Stealthy
  • Strong-WilledSwift
  • Tough

Get Your Verb On (Focus)

Focus is what helps make your character unique and stand out.

The Focus give you a personal trait that may include powers, equipment, and connections.
As your advance, your focus advances.

It can be something simple like, “shines in the sun”; it can be something seemingly combat-oriented like, “hands as hard as stone”, or “bears a halo of fire”.

Breathing Life into Your Concept


Skills in Numenera are fairly free-form.

Anything you’re trained in helps make things easier for you when it applies.

A skill can be anything you’re interested in. The more specific it is, the more useful it will be.

For example: Close Fighting, Astronomy, Cyphers, Knowledge: Beasts, Knowledge: Wonders, Driving, Surfing, Swimming, Climbing


What kind of stuff does your character carry around?

What sort of 1-use or multi-use tech might they have inherited or found?

How much shin (money) does your character have/walk around with?


What is your character’s personal history? What unresolved issues lurk in their past?

How is their relationship with family? Persons with good family relations rarely become adventurers….

What other dark little gems, secret hopes, dark beauties is your character involved with? What are they running to or from?

Don’t be afraid to be imperfect, to have flaws, secrets, fears, dreams – they are very attractive to Storytellers!

So how do I do this?

  1. Figure out your descriptive sentence, “*name* is a *description who *focus*.”, I’m happy to do the stats up for you.
  2. Write down a few Skill ideas like “climbing, stick-fighting, socialite, astrology, astronomy, etc.”
  3. Pick a couple things you’d like your character to have. “Magic beans, flaming sword, hoverbike, flying carpet, etc.”
  4. Figure out how your character got to be awesome: magic spell, eugenics, machine implants, alien intervention
  5. Then you can either email me or use the character submission form to let me know
  6. If you’re a game rule enthusiast, you can check out the resources below and spec out your character sheet.